VAVEL Exclusive: Terrence Boyd talks RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and USMNT
Image credit: GEPA Red Bulls

After scoring the third goal in RB Leipzig’s dramatic late DFB-Pokal win against East German rivals Erzgebirge Aue, Terrence Boyd was able to take time out of his busy schedule to talk about his vital goal and his return to action.

“I’m delighted, my first goal for the club, where can you start? It was a bad start for me here (due to an injury), but obviously it’s nice to get on the score-sheet.” Boyd’s goal was the icing on the cake, as RB Leipzig advanced into the third round to face Wolfsburg. “We were almost eliminated from the cup, so I’m just delighted that we came back and won the game.”

RBL have previous against the Wolves, having beaten them in the first round back in 2011. A Daniel Frahn hat-trick secured an historic victory and Boyd was upbeat about a repeat performance: “Of course it depends how we feel on the game-day, but I think we’re capable of going a long way.”

Moving on from German Cup matters, Boyd was now playing for an RB side instead of pitting his wits against them (he faced Salzburg during his time at for Rapid Wien). When asked about the chances of emulating their Austrian neighbours, the American forward remained positive but grounded, “We hope we can, though we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves. We know we can go the distance, we are confident in ourselves and it’ll be taken one game at a time, try to get the win and see where we end up. We’re not thinking one step ahead, its one step at a time.”

Leipzig are currently third heading into their twelfth game in the 2.Bundesliga. It’s the club’s first season in the German second division and back to back promotions is something that is a very realistic possibility for the club, though Boyd wasn’t in the mood to talk about where they’d finish at this stage, “I’m not saying anything (laughs). Like I said, we think we can go a long way, but it all depends on how things go (laughs).”

A key component of the 3.Liga runners-up was the faith put in young players at the club. Boyd was under no illusions as to how important they are, “They are massive. For example, Yussuf Poulsen he is 94’ born and he is already a complete striker. It’s crazy. If he is already that good now, you don’t want to see how good he’ll be in three-four years (laughs)!” He said, “It’s nice because we have young fans, so we are able to grow with them and the club. The fans can take the next step with the players, it’s great.”

“I could see him breaking into the German national team.” Said Boyd, who was extremely praise-worthy of the work done at the club for youth players. This comment was in relation to Jo Kimmich, a player who has caught many an eye since his move to RB Leipzig and recently won the UEFA European Under 19 Championship with Germany. “He’s done brilliantly for the German youth. What makes him different is that he is one of those players, a ball loving player, who has the technique. At the same time he is somebody who goes into hard tackles, he’s somebody who can tackle you. I’ve never seen a young talent really go into tackles; normally young players take a step back when it comes to tackles, he can do both. This is what makes him so great.

“He’s just one of the best talents, he’ll go a long way and he’s very humble. Everyone in the team is humble, it’s a great environment and we can all go a long way, but we have to stay focused.”

It is high praise indeed, but there was more to come for his United States team-mates that are based in the Bundesliga. John Anthony Brooks and Julian Green have been making waves in the top division of German football, something that Boyd felt would benefit the national team: “It’s great for their development. Jürgen Klinsmann wants us to play at the highest level possible. He wants us to represent the States and reach our maximum, so we can increase the levels within the national team.”

He was full of praise for his fellow Americans that feature in the Bundesliga, though Boyd stressed the need to get regular game time at their respective clubs, “It’s good when you have people like Timothy Chandler, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson and Julian Green in the Bundesliga, because this is the level we want to maintain in the national team. But at the same time it is also important for us to play; right now, John Brooks isn’t playing. It’s a period every player goes through, a period where you aren’t starting or you are starting. He has to fight his way back into the starting eleven, but he will do that, I know he will, because he’s a very talented defender.” Commented the striker, who spoke of Green in a similar light: “The same goes for Julian Green, he needs playing time to become a better player. He’s a huge talent and what makes you better is minutes, you need minutes, you just need to play. We’ll see a lot of him in the future.”

Praise-worthy of coach and team-mates, he was extremely proud of the run at the World Cup. A place in the Copa America has been granted to the US national side, something Terrence is honoured by, “Who knows, it’s exciting for us to take part in this huge competition for the first time. You can play nations like Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, it’s great. It’s a good test for us and I hope we can do a similar job like we did in the World Cup. We surprised some people and let’s see where we end up, I think we can at least reach the semi-finals. We can go a long way in the Copa America, it all depends; one day you’re good, one day you’re bad.”

Boyd, 23, is also keen to make his own mark for the national team. Passionate, ready and waiting, a chance is what he wants; though he’s not prepared to put pressure on himself or the coach: “I’m not putting on any pressure. Jürgen Klinsmann will decide what’s best for the team; I’m just focusing on myself and my club at the moment, just trying to get back into the starting eleven, score as many goals as possible and develop as a player. When he needs me, I’ll be there, he knows that. I’m passionate and he knows I give everything for my nation. Obviously, one day, I’ll have to get my chance. I just have to keep up my level of performance and he knows I’ll be there.”

He made the final thirty of the German coach’s World Cup roster, but was dropped for the final twenty-three man squad. Something that Boyd accepted, appreciating the need for a balanced squad, “Yea, of course I was disappointed. But I accepted it, he had a very, very difficult decision to make on who went to the World Cup. He had to have his own feeling on what the best team would be to get as far as possible. I think we had a great World Cup. I was in a good run of form, I was feeling great and I guess he just didn’t want another ‘big’ striker in the squad. That’s the way it is!”

Even more disappointing, perhaps, was an injury sustained in pre-season. That kept Boyd out of action at the season start, “Of course, I was raring to go from the first minute I was here and then the injury came, after I found out it was 10 weeks, it was hard; because you just want to show everybody what you can do.” Fighting fit once more, he’s keen to prove himself once more in his second spell in Germany and was thankful to Alex Zorniger for an early chance, “Now I’m back and I’m happy that the coach has given me my chance and he threw me in at Nürnberg when we lost; it was nice to be back, I’m very happy he trusted me and now I’ve got my first goal, I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”

His former team, Borussia Dortmund, have been experiencing some tough times recently. Just two wins from their opening nine Bundesliga games see them sit in ninth place, “Every club has their tough times.” said Boyd, who was still confident that they’d be back to their best in no time. “What you’re doing just isn’t working, that’s the game and that’s football. They’re doing well in the Champions League and they’ve got a great coach and a great team. I’m sure they’ll be back on track in no time and they’ll be right back at the top where they before.”

The American forward scored goals for fun with BVB II and many wanted him to get a chance in the first team, though he remained respectful of the challenges he faced to break into the then Bundesliga champions’ side: “It’s different. They were the German champions and they had Robert Lewandowski up front. It was hard and you have to be realistic about your chances; my agent did a great job and he looked for the best move at the best time for me and that was in Austria. I cherished my time at every club I was at, I got two great years of experience in the Europa League and now I’m happy to be here in Leipzig.”

Finally, to finish off, there was no getting away from ‘that’ RKO celebration with Daniel Frahn. It’s currently going viral around the internet and the striking pair couldn’t resist a chance to try it themselves, “(Laughs) We were watching some videos on the internet where people were doing it and then we said ‘We have to do that!’. It replicates the great atmosphere in the dressing room; everyone is great friends with each other. We are fighting for some place up top but it shows that I’m happy for him when he scores and he’s happy for me when I score. He went up to me and we did it, it was funny and everyone enjoyed it, once and never again (laughs)!”

If you want, listen to the full interview.

VAVEL were given the opportunity to interview US national team striker Terrence Boyd by RB Leipzig’s media department. The ex-Borussia Dortmund and Rapid Wien forward was more than helpful through-out the interview and we can only thank both parties for being so obliging.

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